Spark Award

Melissa Morrison-Ellis

Raytheon Technologies

For compassionate and rigorous mentorship; for demonstrating the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace; and for inspiring women engineers at all career stages to grow and flourish.

Melissa Morrison-Ellis served as director in the Strategic Missile Defense business at Raytheon, now an RTX business, where she led the Command and Control portfolio, primarily consisting of foreign and direct commercial sales in the Middle East/North Africa region and in Asia. In 2020, she led the capture and preliminary design phases for a multibillion-dollar, multiphased upgrade of flight test articles for the Missile Defense Agency’s ground-based midcourse defense system. In these roles, Morrison-Ellis managed teams of the best missile defense and space minds in the industry.

Morrison-Ellis recently transitioned to a new role as strategic transformation director in Collins Aerospace, an RTX business, where she is accountable for ensuring stability and optimization of its recent $2 billion-plus business realignment.

Previously, Morrison-Ellis held program management roles in a variety of programs, including the Radar Test Contract, Terminal High Altitude Aerial Defense, and Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System. For her work, she received the 2019 Program Leadership Award, Raytheon’s most prestigious honor for program leaders. She was recognized at the 2016 Women of Color STEM Conference with its Professional Achievement Award in Industry.

Morrison-Ellis is known for her integrity, passion for detail, and realistic approach. She leverages strong change management and interpersonal skills to plan, track, and promote transparency and collaboration across her programs, and she excels at multitasking, strategic thinking, and conflict resolution.

Morrison-Ellis is also known as a natural leader and mentor. She is a seasoned instructor of program leadership at RTX, contributing directly to the knowledge of future leaders.

As a mentor to Raytheon women and men in STEM roles, Morrison-Ellis is often asked to support employee resource groups and functional staff meeting panels to share her career experiences and discuss topics such as navigating challenges, building confidence, improving communications, addressing negative work relationships, and networking effectively. She has attracted many mentees, who are inspired by her transparent approach to thriving through change in the workplace. Currently, she offers Zoom mentoring sessions with her peers down to four levels her junior.

Morrison-Ellis actively empowers the next generation of STEM professionals outside of work through numerous education initiatives in Huntsville, Alabama. She is a lifetime member of Girl Scouts of the USA and is a member of its North-Central Alabama board of directors. She has volunteered as a keynote at the Boys and Girls Club for its Girls Day event and at the Girl Scouts of the USA Cyber Challenge. She has partnered with the Aum Foundation Pathway 2 Success program, serving as both mentor and keynote speaker. In 2023, Morrison-Ellis was appointed to Aum’s board of directors, where she will lead efforts to build a 200-room campus facility for under-resourced first-year college students.

Morrison-Ellis earned a B.S. in civil engineering at Northeastern University and an M.S. in engineering management at Tufts University and is currently matriculating toward a Doctorate in Strategic Leadership at Liberty University. She is a native of Arlington, Massachusetts, and relocated to Harvest, Alabama, in 2018 with her husband, Mark. A virtual fitness and nutrition coach, she strives to embrace a culture of work/life balance.